The National Sleep Foundation and custom window coverings manufacturer Comfortex Window Fashions are helping thousands of consumers create a bedroom environment conducive to better sleep through the innovative SlumberShades line of room-darkening blackout cellular and roller shades.
The two-year-old SlumberShades line was selected as the official window shade of the National Sleep Federation due to its pioneering construction and inventive track installation system, which eliminates 99% of all visible light. Based on the initial success of the program, the line will be dramatically expanded this fall with the addition of a new portfolio of fashionable colors, designs, patterns and fabrics.
“Comfortex has created a product unlike anything else on the market, specifically made to address quality sleep,” points out David Cloud, chief executive officer of the National Sleep Foundation, a charitable, educational and scientific not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving sleep health and safety. “Comfortex has listened to the public and put sleep first.
“SlumberShades are a superb way to make and keep a sleep environment completely dark for as long as desired,” Cloud continues. “Keeping your bedroom dark until you get the sleep you need is one of our top recommendations for better sleep. Comfortex SlumberShades are a great option for people who are sensitive to light interfering with their sleep, particularly shift workers. Light can interfere with sleep cycles by telling the brain that it is time to be awake, so the product is an excellent way to address the problems of millions of Americans who are considered shift workers, including doctors and nurses, pilots, police officers, EMS workers, customer service representatives and commercial drivers.”
Thomas Marusak, president of Comfortex, explains that the SlumberShades product line was developed specifically to address the demand for a room-darkening window covering that would completely block out the light.
“We run a 24-hour manufacturing facility, and our third-shift workers convinced us that there was a very real need and a market demand for a total blackout window shade that would allow daytime sleepers to get the proper amount of quality sleep,” Marusak relates. “While there are many options for covering windows to block light and provide a dark environment, no other custom window treatment company has combined room darkening or blackout shades with light-absorbing side tracks. The development of the side track installation system allows SlumberShades to reliably and mechanically block out all visible light in the room.
“Comfortex is extremely proud to partner with the National Sleep Foundation to help create healthy and comfortable sleep environments,” Marusak adds. “Our affiliation with the NSF adds legitimacy and credibility to the SlumberShades program, and helps us market the program to consumers who are seeking a true blackout option for their windows. Comfortex SlumberShades, along with other products selected by the National Sleep Foundation, can help consumers create the perfect sleeping environment.”
“The timing was perfect,” Cloud recalls. “The National Sleep Foundation issued a request for proposals for room-darkening window treatments in mid-2010, and Comfortex submitted the SlumberShades line in response. We were very impressed with their interest in promoting better sleep and their reputation for quality, so it was a great fit from the start. We selected SlumberShades as the official window shade of the NSF, and Comfortex introduced the product to the public during our National Sleep Awareness Week in March 2011.”
The initial SlumberShade collection includes custom cellular shades and custom roller shades in Virtuoso blackout fabrics and Symphony blackout fabrics as well as a complete selection of custom hardware options, including brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze and other decorator finishes.
The line is sold through a nationwide network of custom window coverings dealers and online retailers, custom cellular shades range in price from approximately $100 to $150; and prices on custom roller shades start at $210. SlumberShades can be installed in new home construction or can be mounted inside existing windows with at least a two-inch depth to the window frame. Comfortex recommends using an installer to take correct window measurements, thereby ensuring each homeowner of a perfect fit.
SlumberShades have been proven to be a strong seller among consumers, according to Marusak. “SlumberShades have been extremely popular, both among our dealer network and among consumers,” he states. “The National Sleep Foundation affiliation with SlumberShades conveys integrity about the technical aspects of the product in both the eyes of the consumer and the Comfortex dealer.
“Consumers love the performance aspects of the SlumberShades and the thousands of custom design options,” he continues. “The superior room darkening capabilities and insulation properties are popular, along with the many color and design options in both the roller and cellular shade fabrics. And the dealers love the up-sell and profit potential that the SlumberShades offer above a regular blackout or room-darkening shade. Additionally, the side track installation system provides a benefit to the dealer, because they can provide a higher dollar value, and therefore a more profitable, sale.”
Comfortex is launching a significant addition to the SlumberShade cellular collection in fall 2013, with more than 69 new colors and patterns being added to the line. The expanded SlumberShade line will be included in the launch of the new Comfortex Cellular Shade Sample Book, which features more than 400 chic colorations; a broad selection of new designs, patterns and textures; and a fresh fabric line, including a new “Silk Essence” fabric collection.
Additionally, the SlumberShade roller shade program offers a range of design options through the “design-your-own” capabilities of the Comfortex PERSONA Custom Designer Shades program.
“The PERSONA program allows you to pick from more than 800 colors, textures, patterns, personal photos or even licensed sports team logos, such as Major League Baseball,” Marusak says. “Almost anything can be custom printed on a roller shade—the PERSONA program allows the homeowner to truly express their personal style and design preferences.”
Comfortex offers myriad hardware options, including cordless options for nurseries, children’s bedrooms and family areas where child safety is a concern. Hardware choices also include cord loop options for hard-to-reach and large shade applications; and top-down/bottom-up options for cellular shades in rooms that require privacy and light control.
Another benefit to the SlumberShades line is the fact that it increases energy efficiency in the home. Because of the unique side track system, SlumberShades seal off the gap between the between the shade and the window to create a solid insulating barrier that reduces air flow and heat loss around windows.
Independent testing by the Consortium for Advanced Residential Buildings (CARB), a U.S. Department of Energy Building America research team, has shown that cellular SlumberShades provide an R-value greater than 7.0 when installed over a double paned vinyl window. The testing also indicates that the R-value of a SlumberShade is 2.5 to 3 times higher than that of the similar shade without the side track installation system.
“Consumers are really responding to the combination of features and benefits offered by Comfortex SlumberShades,” Marusak remarks. “They love the fact that they can get a room-darkening product that also saves them money by reducing energy consumption.”
Another important benefit to consumers is education: As part of their partnership, the National Sleep Foundation and Comfortex are providing informational brochures to consumers about the importance of proper sleep, and how to create a proper bedroom environment to promote deep restful slumber.
“Comfortex and the National Sleep Foundation are working together to educate the public about better sleep,” explains the NSF’s Cloud. “With Comfortex as our educational partner, we are distributing our booklet ‘Better Sleep Through Light Management’ with every SlumberShade order and reaching a new audience with this vital information.”
The National Sleep Foundation brochure is enclosed in the packaging with every SlumberShade purchase; dealers also can purchase additional brochures along with SlumberShade samples and sample track kits to show homeowners how the shade and track combination will work in their windows to block light.
“Since most of our sales take place with the assistance of a Comfortex dealer, we provide our dealers with the NSF brochure, a dealer oriented SlumberShade brochure and dealer oriented training videos,” Marusak says. “This brochure provides important information to everyone about the critical issue of sleep and how beneficial a good night’s sleep can be to a person’s health and well-being.”
Key subjects addressed in the NSF brochure include a description about how the body’s biological clock operates, and how individuals can use darkness and sound control to manage the sleep/wake cycle. Following are some compelling excerpts from the brochure:
• Research shows that sleeping in a dark and quiet room can help manage your sleep cycles, your mood and your energy, and help you wake up feeling refreshed and alert.
• Light is one of the most important environmental factors that control your biological clock. Light sensed through your eyes helps program your body clock, affecting when you feel most awake, and when you feel the most tired.
• By sleeping in a dark and quiet room, you can block sleep-disrupting light and noise, and tweak or reboot your biological clock to help you sleep and wake up when you need to, and to feel refreshed.
• If you sleep at night, try to get at least 30 minutes exposure to full-spectrum light during the day, especially first thing in the morning. This light will cue your body to induce sleep at the right time, towards the end of your day.
• Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night to function at their best, while others are at their peak performance when they have an hour or so more or less. Children and adolescents need 9 hours or more.
About The National Sleep Foundation: The National Sleep Foundation is a charitable, educational and scientific not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving sleep health and safety through education, public awareness, and advocacy. Based in Washington, DC, its membership includes researchers and clinicians focused on sleep medicine, professionals in the health, medical and science fields, individuals, patients, families affected by drowsy driving and more than 900 healthcare facilities throughout North America.
About Comfortex Window Fashions: Comfortex Window Fashions, founded in 1986, is a leading innovator in the window fashion industry. Thomas Marusak serves as president of Comfortex Corp., and is also one of the original founders of the company. Comfortex maintains its headquarters just north of Albany in Maplewood, NY, and operates an additional manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona. Comfortex products are distributed in every state in the United States and in over 70 countries worldwide